10 Tips On How To Take Effective Notes During Lectures

Note-Taking Strategies

Being a grad student comes with endless responsibilities – attending lectures, completing readings, submitting essays, presentations, and homework. If you’re struggling to make sense of all the academic work, worry not! Here are some handy tips that help you improve your note-taking during lectures.

Tips To Take Excellent Notes In College

Here are our expert note-taking strategies that help you get the most out of lectures:

1. Stay Organized

Avoid taking notes in random notebooks or papers. Instead, organize all your notes in one place using a separate notebook or digital file for each subject. This brings us to the next tip,

2. Digital Or Handwritten?

There’s no right or wrong way to take notes. It all depends on your comfort levels and school rules. If your university allows laptops or iPads, you can consider taking notes digitally. However, several studies indicate that taking handwritten notes is more effective as it helps you remember and recollect the information better.

3. Label It

Whenever you take notes in class, ensure that you label the top of every page with the following information:

  • Topic
  • Date
  • Name of the professor

This helps you retrieve them easily during study sessions.

4. You Don’t Have To Write Down Everything

Note-taking is not a test for your typing or writing speeds. You don’t have to write down every word the professor says. Instead, take notes of key points, themes and arguments in the lecture. Some universities offer recorded lessons to go back and check if you have missed vital points.

5. Pay Attention

It’s easy to lose your attention during day lectures. Ensure that you take adequate rest before class hours so that you don’t dose off during lectures. Listen attentively and jot down key points and examples. These key points can help you do better in exams and improve your grades.

6. Highlight, Underline & Capitalize

Sometimes lecturers draw attention to specific keywords and phrases. These are important words that form the crux of the topic. You can underline these words and phrases using highlighters so that it’s easy to remember them while studying.

7. Use Your Own Abbreviations

You don’t have to learn shorthand to improve your note-taking skills. Come up with a shorthand and abbreviation system that makes it easy to understand words while improving your note-taking speeds. For example, you can use words like “btw” instead of “between” and so on.

8. Ask Questions

Ask Questions

Effective note-taking is not just noting down everything the lecturer says. Make sure that you ask questions or clarifications on topics you’re not confident with. If you’re still unable to understand something the lecturer says, you can meet them after class hours to clarify your doubts.

9. Compare Notes With Your Classmates

It’s always a good idea to share and compare notes with your classmates. They might have noted a few key points that you may have missed and vice versa. This helps you build comprehensive notes that you can use during your study sessions.

10. Turn Off Distractions

It’s always a good idea to turn off your mobile phone so that you’re not distracted by the constant notifications. At the very least, put your mobile in do not disturb mode and keep it in your pocket or out of sight during class hours.

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